CRC to address mass incarceration at Nov. 4 event

The Community Relations Council (CRC) of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio and the University of the Incarnate Word will be co-hosting a panel and lecture entitled Mass Incarceration: A Policy Crisis on November 4 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the UIW Concert Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Equality opportunity and justice for all is one of the purposes of the CRC. The Jewish Council of Public Affairs has asked CRCs nationwide to be a part of the solution to mass incarceration to help pursue the ideal of justice for all. This past spring, the CRC began discussing the issue when they hosted Dr. Doshie Piper, criminal justice professor from the University of the Incarnate Word, to educate the group on the problem of mass incarceration. The CRC learned that while the U.S. has 4% of the world’s population, it has 25% of the world’s prisoners, and more than 60% are people of color. Additionally, once a person has served their sentence, they find that their criminal record is a life sentence to poverty, making it harder for them to secure employment and find stability for themselves and their children for the rest of their lives. The CRC agreed that they wanted to make this issue the focus of their fall event.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales will open the event with the current state of the mass incarceration crisis in Bexar County, its challenges and possible solutions. La Reta Gatlin McDavid will also speak about her own journey through incarceration and how it has impacted her life. Bob Rivard of the Rivard Report will moderate a panel including Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar.

After the event, audience members are encouraged to stay for a dessert reception and to explore the resource tables of community organizations working to help individuals regain their lives after incarceration. The CRC’s goals are education and connection, and their hope is that those coming to the event will begin a long-term discussion of solutions to these problems.

To learn more about the Community Relations Council, please contact Lisa Epstein, PhD, at epsteinl@jfsatx.org.